Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie: Brown Sugar-Apple Cheesecake

Thanks to Jaime of Good Eats n’ Sweet Treats for choosing the Brown Sugar-Apple Cheesecake for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie. I always need a good excuse to make (and eat!) cheesecake!

It didn't seem like anyone had too many problems when I look back at comments on our mutual site. That made me happy, because it meant that I didn't have to worry too much on Saturday when Christine and I settled in to make it. I didn't make too many changes to the recipe, and some of them I think more people than not did - we didn't have a 10 in. springform pan, so we used a 9 in. and the foil around the pan leaked so there was water right next to the springform (which luckily didn't leak!). We also decided to slice up the apples a little thinner so she could patiently fan them out like so:

See! I told you the woman was patient! I sat there impatiently waiting to pour the rest of the batter in so that we could get going and BAKE it! (Really, all I wanted to do at that point after smelling all of the parts before assembly was EAT it, but that's a detail.) Patiently we waited 45 minutes, covering it after 45 minutes with the lid of the french oven since she had run out of foil, then another 55 minutes until the center just jiggled the littlest bit. We pulled it out, and I was amazed! I've never baked a cheesecake in a water bath, but this one just... didn't crack! It didn't fall in the middle either! We kept anxiously checking it every 10 minutes while it cooled to room temp to make sure that it didn't fall or crack after the baking, but we were safe. I don't know if we really needed to leave it in the water bath while it cooled, but I just wanted to be safe rather than sorry, so that's what we did.

Christine let it cool in her fridge for the rest of the weekend (oh the torture!), and brought it into work Monday morning. Let me tell you, if you want weird looks from co-workers - bring a baked good and then take pictures of it on the secretary's desk! But here it is - and you can tell how creamy and smooth it is from how it schmeared while I was cutting :-)

Oh yeah, and when Dorie says substantial - oh my goodness! SUBSTANTIAL. and tasty!

Last week: Black and White Layer Cake
Next week: Almost Fudge Gateau

Brown Sugar-Apple Cheesecake (Dorie Greenspan's Baking)

For the crust:
30 gingersnaps (or a scant 2 c. graham cracker crumbs)
2 T light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon (optional)
1/2 stick (4 T) unsalted butter, melted

For the apples:
1/2 stick (4 T) unsalted butter
3 large Golden Delicious or Fuji apples, peeled, cored and cut into eighths
2 T (packed) light brown sugar

For the filling:
1 1/2 pounds (three 8-oz packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 c. (packed) light brown sugar
6 T sugar
3 T apple cider2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
3/4 c. sour cream
1/3 c. heavy cream

To make the crust: Butter the bottom and side of a 10-inch springform pan.
Put the gingersnaps in a food processor and whir until you have crumbs; you should have a scant 2 cups. (If you are using graham cracker crumbs, just put them in the processor.) Pulse in the sugar and cinnamon, if you're using i, then pour over the melted butter and pulse until the crumbs are moistened. Turn the crumbs into the springform pan and, using your fingertips, firmly press them evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan as far as they'll go. Put the pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven. (The rust can be covered and frozen for up to 2 months.)
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Remove the pan from the freezer and wrap the bottom tightly in aluminum foil, going up the sides. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until the crust is set and lightly browned. Transfer to a rack to cool while you make the apples and filling. Leave the oven at 350 degrees F.

To make the apples: Melt 2 T of the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When the foam subsides, toss in half of the apples slices and cook, turning once, until they are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle the apples with 1 T of the sugar and cook them, turning, just until coated, another minute or so. Scrape the apples onto a plate, wipe out the skillet, and repeat with the remaining apples. Let the apples cool while you make the filling.

Getting ready to bake: Have a roasting pan large enough to hold the springform pan at hand. Put a kettle of water on to boil.

To make the filling: Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese on medium speed, scraping down the bowl often, for about 4 minutes, or until it is velvety smooth. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 minutes. Beat in the cider, vanilla, and cinnamon. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the eggs one by one, beating for 1 minute after each egg goes in. Finally, beat in the sour cream and heavy cream, beating just until the batter is smooth.
Pour about one third of the batter into the baked crust. Drain the apples by lifting them off the plate with a slotted spoon or spatula, and spoon them into the pan. Cover with the remaining batter and, if needed, jiggle the pan to even the top. Place the springform in the roasting pan and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 30 to 45 minutes, covering the cake loosely with a foil tent at the 45-minute mark. The cake will rise evenly and crack around the edges, and it should be fully set except, possibly, in the very center--if the center shimmies, that's just fine. Gently transfer the cake, still in the pan, to a cooling rack and let it cool to room temperature, then refrigerate it for at least 6 hours; overnight would be better.
Run a blunt knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the crust, open the pan's latch and release and remove the sides.

Makes about 16 servings.


Mary said...

looks delicious! if those co-workers know what's best for them, they'll refrain from making faces and just enjoy the treats they are given....they are the lucky ones!

Erin said...

Yours looks great! The top turned out nice and smooth. Glad everyone enjoyed it!

April said...

Looks fantastic!

chelley325 said...

Looks perfect! And I love how you covered a layer in apples - I would do the same thing if I make this again!

Marie said...

Yummy looking cheesecake! Well done! I added apples to the top of mine. My goodness but this was one tasty dessert!

slush said...

Look at all those apples inside! I think I would add more apples next time too. Jaos loved them. Great job, so glad you joined us!

Joy the Baker said...

That looks yummy! Nice apple technique! I don't know how you could have waited so long to eat it... torture!

lemontartlet said...

Wasn't the waiting awfull? No lie, I woke D up last night at 11 p.m. yelling "It's Magic Cheesecake Hour!" as soon as the six hours were gone.

Yours looks so perfect, smooth and velvety lucious!

Judy said...

It looks delicious. I'd cut the apples into thinner slices, too.

Jhianna said...

I'm sure the coworkers didn't mind the pictures - they got the fabulous cheesecake afterwards!

(And I wondered where all the talking was - I should have known to check the main blog. I left the apples in huge chunks and wish I hadn't. It was really difficult to get a clean slice without the apple flying out the back of the piece!)

Dianne's Dishes said...

Looks great!

MrsPresley said...

great job! i fanned the apples out like that, but i had TWO layers b/c i love apples so much! :) glad you joined us...

Di said...

I had to laugh at the image of you taking pictures at work. I particularly like the picture of the inside of the cake after you cut it. Yum.

Peabody said...

Cooking cheesecake in a water bath is that way to go. Great job.

steph- whisk/spoon said...

love that high crust! i can imagine the co-workers looks at photo time...funny!

Amy said...

Mmmmmm that cheesecake looks delicious! Love the blog! :)